Here’s What You Can Do to Stop Robocalls

Verizon’s new free call filter service is just a first step.

April 4, 2019 5:00 am
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Yes, you are getting more robocalls.

John Oliver certainly had something to say about those increasingly unwanted calls earlier this year. And while the FCC itself is making threats to carriers, a few phone companies are starting to proactively combat spammy callers.

Most recently it’s Verizon, which now offers Call Filter Free, a free service that alerts users to spam calls and allows customers to report unsolicited numbers and block robocalls.

Formerly only a paid service — which still exists and allows for a few extra perks, like ID-ing unknown callers by name — the free version of Call Filter is available now as an app for Android and iOS, and can also be activated via Verizon’s site.

While you’ve been able to individually block numbers on most iPhones and Androids for a while, that’s only a band-aid for a serious problem; most carriers have been unable to do much against unlisted numbers or callers who have “spoofed” their identities (basically, tricking you into thinking you’re getting a call from a different number).

Fortunately, other phone companies have already started making progress on robocalls and spoofing, spurred in part by the FCC’s SHANKEN/STIR call authentication initiative; if that protocol is adopted across the industry, carriers would use digital certificates to verify that calls are actually coming from the number that you’re seeing before you pick up.

For now? Sign up for your phone company’s (probably free) call filtering service and utilize a “Do Not Disturb” option already built into your phone.

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